Forrest McCurren Oh Me Oh My

Forrest McCurren Shows Why He Goes ‘Oh Me, Oh My’

Oh Me, Oh My reveals that Americana artist Forrest McCurren has a talent for writing catchy yet subtle songs about the human condition through the eyes of various narrators.

Oh Me, Oh My
Forrest McCurren
19 August 2022

Forrest McCurren writes about people like him looking for meaning in a big old goofy world. He knows he’s nothing special. “Boys like me, we ain’t too hard to find / We’re a dime a dozen, between these county lines,” he sings on “Dime a Dozen”. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel special—that all of us feel special to ourselves. His characters take themselves seriously, even if they get lost in their daydreams and nightlife. The ten songs on the Missouri artist’s debut album, Oh Me, Oh My, reveal that McCurren has a notable talent for writing catchy yet subtle songs about the human condition through the eyes of various narrators.

Like fellow Midwesterner John Prine (a heavy influence) with whom McCurren shares a similar gruff voice, McCurren leavens his tales with a wry sense of humor at the absurdity of human existence. Life is funny. Okay, maybe it’s tragic, too. That makes it a tie. McCurren understands that a tie is a whole lot better than losing, and sometimes, good things happen that make it all worthwhile.

In other words, the ten songs on McCurren’s Oh Me, Oh My suggest that life isn’t so bad, and even when it is, one needs to appreciate the positive. His protagonists may have failed at achieving their dreams on a material level. However, they have found solace in the memory of people and places past, the beauty of a lovely Indian summer day, in the throes of love, or even in just being alive. His existential reality does not limit McCurren. He lets his imagination wander and, in one song, even takes the persona of an older Comanche woman philosophizing about life (“Pray for Sun”).

McCurren sings and pens these songs with a keen appreciation of the telling detail and a weakness for the clever one-liner. He delivers homilies such as: “You’re damned if you fall in love, be a fool if you don’t”, “Life gets messy, it’s gonna leave a stain”, “It’s ashes to ashes, enough ain’t enough”, and “Love is a duel, life is a game” that explain by not explaining. He tells real-life fables and moralizes by not passing judgment or giving cheap advice. McCurren’s an entertainer, not a pastor. He’s from the Show Me State and demonstrates what he means instead of just telling.

So we learn about the dirty white towels in a motel bathroom, the Amish man who pays his help in cash—double if the employee can get him some pot, the perils of being a big man in a small town, and other specifics as a way of grasping what a song’s really about. Where one lives or lived matters. The musical accompaniment mixes rock and country to emphasize the emotional and intellectual dilemmas one faces through the accidents of birth and geography.

Wes Sharon produced and recorded the album in Norman, Oklahoma, with a band of talented players, including guitarist Ryan Engleman (Turnpike Troubadours and Reckless Kelly), drummer Jimmy Paxson (The Chicks, Stevie Nicks, Ben Harper), and keyboardist Dan Walker (Heart, John Fullbright, Courtney Marie Andrews) along with Sharon on bass and Margaret McCurren on violin and harmony vocals. They successfully ground McMurren’s tales in a comfortable setting, even when the characters don’t always understand who and where they are.

RATING 8 / 10